The flagstick on the green should be handled with care

2013-04-26 00:00

A ROUND of golf involves 18 holes and obviously there are 18 flagsticks that must be removed in order to hole out; that’s if you are on the green.

We know that you can hole out from off the green with the flagstick in the hole and it is always nice to do that because it’s at least one shot saved.

There are, however, certain rules a golfer needs to know about the flagstick and they can be found under Rule 17 on pages 73 and 74 in the latest Rules of Golf.

Strange and bizarre things can happen out there, tee to green, but the flagstick is handled on every hole so it’s advisable to brush up on a few rules concerning this piece of equipment.

The following three situations can occur in any round of golf; what are the rulings?

(a) Sam putts too strongly and his ball strikes the flagstick, which has been removed by Harry, a competitor who had placed it on the green behind the hole.

(b) Harry removes the flagstick and places it on the green. Sam putts and Harry realises that Sam’s ball might strike the flagstick, so he picks it up while the ball is in motion.

(c) Sam’s ball is resting against the flagstick. Without Sam’s authority, his competitor, Harry, removes the flagstick and the ball moves away from the hole.

The answers are:

(a) In matchplay, Sam loses the hole. In strokeplay there is a two-stroke penalty. See Rule 17-3a

(b) There is no penalty for anyone. See rule 24-1

(c) In matchplay, Harry incurs a penalty stroke and the ball must be replaced against the flagstick. In strokeplay, the ball must be replaced against the flagstick without penalty for anyone. So says Rule 18-3b

To a regular golfer, these questions should be easy, but it’s surprising how many golfers are seriously lacking in knowledge of the rules.

It should be remembered that the little 210-page rule book contains all of the rules and should provide the answer to most queries and questions that can arise on the course.

However, it doesn’t and cannot deal with details of all occurrences and situations.

Each year the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient receive thousands of inquiries seeking clarification of the rules of golf.

In order to help millions of golfers around the world better understand how these detailed rules are applied and interpreted, the two golf organisations have developed the comprehensive 720-page biennial book, Decisions on the Rules of Golf. It’s great reading for golf fanatics.

F rom the 19th hole:

Two little boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and preceded to the checkout counter. The pharmacist at the counter asked the older boy, “Son, how old are you?”

“Eight,” the boy replied.

The pharmacist continued, “Do you know what these are used for?” The boy replied, “Not exactly, but they’re not for me. They’re for him. He’s my brother. He’s four. We saw on TV that if you use these you would be able to swim and ride a bike and right now, he can’t do either.”

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